In the past 12 years of homeschooling, I have…
–homeschooled a second grader and kindergartener with a four month old baby while my husband was in Kuwait for 6 months
–homeschooled while moving at least 9 times including 2 moves overseas and back
–homeschooled 6 kids ages 17 – newborn (who was being treated weekly for club feet) while my husband went back to Spain for 8 months
–homeschooled 6 kids alone in Texas while caring for my terminally ill mother
–homeschooled through many of life’s curveballs including births, deaths, illnesses, miscarriage, financial hardships, and times of being alone
And what I have learned through all of this…
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
I have met many homeschoolers over the years that are what I like to call “fair-weather homeschoolers”. You know, the ones that will homeschool if they are financial able, and if their husband helps, and if everything is just perfect.
I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble and sound pessimistic–but if you hold out waiting for life to be just right in order for you to choose homeschooling (or continue to homeschool), you’re going to be waiting a long time!
The Lord didn’t command us to teach our children in the garden. He commanded it of us in this sin-tainted, death and disease stricken, life-is-hard world. I know that sounds a little harsh, but the reality is that we are to train up our children and teach them diligently even when life is hard…especially when life is hard!
And just how does that happen?
How to Homeschool When Life Throws You a Curveball
1. Keep #1 number 1.
Everything we do in this life should bring glory and honor to our Lord and Savior. He should be our focus during the good times and the bad. There were (and still are) many times that doing any school work was just too much. It was during these times that I would at least try to read from the Bible with the kids, or sing hymns or recite verses or listen to BBN. If I wasn’t able, my oldest daughter would read the Bible to the kids.
You may be so weak or overwhelmed that even this small task seems too much. I would encourage you to find some way to bring Jesus into the picture. If someone asks how they can help, have them read to you and the kids. Turn on an audio version of the Bible (there are some phone apps that do this) and listen from your phone. Call out to the Lord and ask Him make Himself known during this time.
2. Know that the kids are learning.
Sometimes it is easy to focus on academics and forget that true learning happens everyday all around us. And what better thing to learn than the character traits acquired during hardships. How many times my children have had to put other’s needs before their own? How much compassion did they learn as they brought water and food to a dying grandmother? How they have matured as they have given and served those they love!
If they had been in school all day, they would have missed out on the blessings that can only be received when we have empties ourselves of all our wants and desires and became the hands and feet of Jesus.
My oldest daughter is studying to become a midwife. I truly believe that allowing her to experience hardships first hand during her schooling years has allowed to to develop the skills she will need to do the job God has called her to do.
3. Know that this too shall pass.
Right now is not forever. Life changes in an instant, and though we don’t know the road ahead, we do know the one who created the road. He will carry us through this difficult time, and each one that comes our way.
…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
Life is like the ebb and flow of the ocean. There will be times of hardship followed by times of joy. I lost my mom last year to cancer, but was able to welcome her namesake into the world this week. Tears of joy flowed as I held my precious niece and thanked God for His mercy and goodness!
I guess I really haven’t given you an outline on “how to homeschool” when life throws you a curveball. Because, well, sometimes life is just too hard to homeschool. And that is OK. Just pull your children close and know there will be time for academics. Just not now. There will be time for reading and writing and arithmetic. Just not now. There will be time for the school learning, but now is the time to be still.
I like to think of it as a race. If you were running a marathon and you fell down and hurt yourself, would you give up and quit the race? Or would you hobble through the next mile, get your groove back, and finish the race you were called to run?
We are all going to hobble around a bit now and then, it is finishing the race that really counts!